Will this be a good test for you guys Sunday?
"I think coming into this game we all recognize that Houston is a solid team. They have done a lot, especially offensively. They have a great offense and do some great things in the running game and the play action pass as well. They have explosive players all over the field. It will be a good test for us. The biggest thing that we want to do is show up fast, start off fast and show some emotion like we did last week, against a quality opponent. They're going to make some plays and take some shots down the field. We want to keep the ball in front of us, run the defense like we should and just play fast. We'll see where that takes us. We definitely want to cut back on the penalties and turnovers, play some smart, situational football and just build off what we did last week."
How comfortable were you calling the defense last week?
"I did it all week last week in practice. It wasn't nerve-wracking at all. It was my first time with the mike in my helmet. I enjoyed it."
Were you surprised they had you do it instead of another defensive player?
"At first, yes, but they're comfortable having me in front of the huddle, so that's just how it is."
Do you anticipate Curtis Lofton doing that?
"Yes, I think Curtis is psychologically a little better, having a linebacker in front of the unit, but if anything were to happen to him or if he goes out before I do, I'll probably have it.'"
How tough was it for the safety position last year? !(http://www.neworleanssaints.com/media-center/photo-gallery/New-Orleans-Saints-Practice-August-23/54555511-eb64-46d1-b5ad-91e896586760 "New Orleans Saints")
"I don't think it was just our position that was tough. I had a lot of tackles. I had 97 in 13 games and I think he (Roman Harper) was over 100. As a safety, you never want to have that many tackles. We shouldn't be that involved. It was rough for everybody for the secondary and defense. I think everyone can point and say they had a rough year. We are definitely encouraged this year that everything is turned around. Our defensive line is playing phenomenal, so I have not made an open field tackle yet in a game. Hopefully that continues. We will just look forward to this year and be excited about the pieces that we have on our defense."
Is this system a better fit?
"I think so. I think we have a little more fun. We're moving around a lot in different positions, doing more what our skill sets allow. That's what helps you as a defense, having versatile players that can do different things. We can get Roman back to pressuring the quarterback like he was in 2011. I'm moving around able to cover receivers, still playing the post. They keep me busy. We added Kenny Vaccarro and he's another versatile player that can play in the box and cover some tight ends. It's going to be fun for us this year. We have fun the way Rob (Ryan) has us playing."
Can you, Roman and Kenny be interchangeable?
"Yes, we can be. Most of my reps have been at the free safety position and nickel, but most of the positions can be interchangeable."
Is there a specific thing you can pinpoint why you think this year will be different?
"I think this 3-4 as far as the front has given us the chance to be solid in the run. I think that's one place we were not great at last year, stopping the run and that opened up the play action pass and all these other big plays. So far, this preseason, our front has done a great job of one, pressuring the quarterback and two stopping the run or getting negative plays in the run game and allowing our linebackers to run freely. I don't think we have any runs that have broken into the secondary yet, which is something that happened pretty often last year. When you don't have big plays in games, it's easier for us to function as a defense. When you are giving up big plays and scoring fast, you really don't give yourself a chance."
Even though the Chiefs scored on their first drive, was it a positive that there weren't big plays?
"It was a 14-play drive. I don't know too many offenses that can go 14 plays series after series after series. If they're going to score, you want them to have to dink and dunk and do the little things to earn it down there. If we can win on one of those third downs, the drive is over. That's the most encouraging thing, that the secondary is keeping the ball in front of us. It's something we will be tested with this week. The Texans like to take shots down the field. They have big play receivers. They have a great running game that they can set up the play action of off. The secondary will need to have good eyes, key our clues and keep the ball in front of us. They're going to make some plays. They're going to have their runs. They are a phenomenal offense, but we need to make open field tackles and get population to the football so those big plays don't happen and if we can force them to a third and down, then the ball's really in our hands and we can make something happen and get them off the field.